The case of the missing geese

THERE may be a happy ending to the story of Barnstaple’s missing Canada geese.

The birds have been on the minds of a number of readers since local naturalist Trevor Beer raised concerns for those living on the River Taw.

Trevor reported an absence of geese since hearing an early morning explosion near the river.

Several people have since confirmed that they, too, heard the noise, while others noticed a lack of geese where there were once several hundreds on the riverbank.

Then came reports of geese landing in the roadway and residential parts of the Whiddon Valley in Barnstaple.

By coincidence, Trevor’s sister-in-law Ann Beer and Susan Lyons picked one up in the middle of the road when attending a meeting at the Whiddon Valley Community Centre.

They took it to the North Devon Animal Ambulance headquarters and handed it in.

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“We were told that two others had only recently been found in similar circumstances,” said Ann.

But Diana Lewis of the Animal Ambulance, said the geese which had been found had almost certainly been blown off course by recent gales.

One was under nourished and another had an injured wing, where it has been struck by a car. But after a period of recuperation at the West Hatch rescue centre near Taunton, all three of the Barnstaple geese had recovered enough to be released back in the wild at the Portmore golf course just outside the town, she said.

As for those missing from the river, Peter Tanner of Barnstaple was able to report the sighting this week of more than 200 feeding in a newly-ploughed stubble field in the Yelland area. There were also geese flying over the Barbican Road area of Barnstaple in the early morning, he said.

So, have they just moved on to a new feeding area?

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